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Philippians Week Three

April 21-27, 2024

Humility in Christ

Podcast

Listen as the Speaking Team discuss Philippians 2:1-11

Study Guide

Grow individually or in your group with a guided study through this week's portion of Philippians.

Read

Read Philippians 2:1-11 in Your Bible

If you say you are humble, are you actually humble? Humility can seem like a paradox, like we can only have it if we don’t realize we have it, but Paul frames the call to Christian unity around the very Christ-like characteristic of humility. If humility should be a very visible attitude of the Christian church, how can you demonstrate the kind of humility that Jesus modeled?

Paul describes humility as a marker of Christian unity. He says that to love one another and to work together with one mind and purpose. There are some very practical things to do! For example, Paul says don’t be selfish and don’t try to impress others. Be humble and think of others as better than yourself. Don’t look out only for yourself but take an interest in others. (2:3-4)

Think back on your day and your week. Have these attitudes described your interactions with others? If not, can you see the places where perhaps a lack of humility also led to a lack of unity?

Paul then moves us deeper into the heart of the matter. Humility is not just a nice attitude to have, but it is a Christian calling based solely on the attitude of Jesus Christ himself.

This next passage, 2:5-11, is called the Christ Poem. It’s possible this was an early hymn of the Christian church that Paul incorporated into his letter. But whether Paul wrote it or adapted it, the purpose is to meditate on the humiliation of Christ:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
     by taking the very nature of a servant,
     being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
     he humbled himself
     by becoming obedient to death—
          even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11, NIV

Humility was not a virtue in the ancient world. To be exalted through an act of utter humiliation (even death on a cross!) was a great reversal of the power structures of the day. And such an emphasis on humility is the opposite of what our society craves and values today. But the Christian community is different. It finds unity in the humility of its members, because of the humiliation of Jesus Christ.

Reflect

Reflection Questions

What might it look like for you to grow in humility? How might an increase in your humility affect those around you, such as your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers?

Do you see an attitude of humility as necessary for unity? Why or why not?

What is so radical about the humiliation of Jesus? What is it about humility that demonstrates love, compassion, and tenderness?

Read through and meditate on the Christ Poem. Choose a line or phrase to sit with for a few moments. What is Jesus calling you into as you think about these words?

Pray

Pray to yourself or aloud in your group

Jesus Christ,
The one whom we look to as the ultimate example of humility,
I take these next few moments in my day to pause and worship you.

Pause. Take a deep breath. In your own words, tell Jesus how wonderful he is to you.

I acknowledge your brilliance and greatness.
You are kind, and the most loving human to ever live.
You are my redeemer, my Savior, and my friend.

Pause.
Think about the love and kindness of Jesus in your own life. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring some examples to your mind.

I join with heaven.
I join with creation.
I join with your people,
and I lift up the name of Jesus.
I bow my knee.
I confess with my mouth.
You are my Lord.

Amen

Memorize

Add the bold section to memory each week

Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Westside Kids

Word of the Week: Humility

Paul taught us to think about others before ourselves. We can help our kids understand the importance of being kind and considerate. By doing small acts of kindness, like sharing toys or helping someone who’s sad, they’ll learn to be humble and caring.

Ask: How can you put someone first before yourself today?